Unemployment

Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger. I bring tidings of woe not because I’m trying to rob you of your right to pursue a legal education; I’m trying to help you. Call me Elie Stormcrow.

Actually, today The Atlantic is the messenger reminding you of the serious financial peril involved in starting a legal career. The recession might be over but the recovery hasn’t happened for all. And we’re not just talking about the Occupy Wall Street people. No, no, things remain pretty bad for lawyers and bankers. Here’s the money quote from the Atlantic: “In 2011, finance, insurance, and law were the three primarily white-collar professions that managed to shed workers, even as the rest of the economy trudged forward through a slow recovery.”

Yeah folks, even in 2011, the legal economy was still shedding jobs. But it’s not like law schools were spitting out fewer graduates, so… you do the math.

Here, the Atlantic has put things in a fancy chart. Pictures people, it’ll be like an LSAT game: how many people made a terrible investment in higher education?

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As we mentioned today in Morning Docket, William Robinson, the newly appointed president of the American Bar Association, is taking a stand on the status quo of legal education in our country.

But instead of combating 2011′s annus horribilis for law schools by calling for reform, Robinson is defending the ABA’s role, stating that young lawyers “should have known what they were getting into.”

Isn’t it wonderful to know that the man in charge of the ABA is essentially playing the “blame the victim” card when it comes to debt-saddled and unemployed law school graduates?

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Puppy is sad because you think he has no soul.

* Rick Santorum and the Sweater Vests can join Rick Perry’s ballot access lawsuit in Virginia. It’s funny, because at this rate, Perry will have dropped out before the first hearing. [Washington Post]

* If you’re an unemployed law grad drowning in debt, you should’ve known that you’d be screwed. Warning! Danger, Will Robinson! Opinion does not compute! [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Scott Rothstein claims that his firm kept a condo across the street so that partners could bang hookers. If real firms were like this, there would be less partner defections. [Orlando Sentinel]

* One robo-signer to rule them all: David J. Stern, Florida’s dethroned foreclosure king, is being sued by his own company for fraudulent conduct. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. [Bloomberg]

* Do cute, little doggies have souls? Of course they do, but the law doesn’t really conform to animated children’s movies from the eighties. This lawsuit hopes to reveal the truth. [Gothamist]

* Merry Christmas! House Republicans will get one less lump of coal in their stockings this year after accepting a two-month extension of unemployment benefits and payroll tax cuts. [New York Times]

* Another birther lawsuit has been thrown out, but Orly Taitz won’t be stopped. She’s like the Energizer Bunny of questionable litigation. She’ll keep appealing, and appealing, and appealing… [Los Angeles Times]

* John Edwards is trying to delay his criminal trial, claiming to have a mystery medical diagnosis. What kind of disease does karma hand you for cheating on your sick wife? [New York Daily News]

* Nora Demleitner will be will be stepping in as the new dean of Washington and Lee University School of Law. Hofstra Law, you M.A.D.? [National Law Journal]

* Is the American Bar Association really driving up the cost of law school tuition, or is it the law schools themselves? Here are some graphs that might surprise you. [Am Law Daily]

* A man on trial for sex crimes at a Minnesota courthouse allegedly shot three people yesterday, including prosecutor Timothy Scannell. Guess it’s time to get a metal detector. [Duluth News Tribune]

* Instead of trying to force Citigroup’s hand on a tougher settlement, the SEC is appealing Judge Rakoff’s rejection of the original. Don’t want to make the SEC do more work now, judge. [Bloomberg]

* You’d think that by now, law schools facing scrutiny over employment data would be willing to turn over some information to Law School Transparency, but you’d be wrong. [National Law Journal]

* China’s King & Wood and Australia’s Mallesons Stephen Jaques are combining to form a happy family this March. If this were in Japan, they’d be the Godzilla of law firms. [Wall Street Journal]

* Obvious news alert: Foxy Knoxy was acquitted of murder because there wasn’t enough evidence to prove she was guilty of murder. Thanks for this brilliant observation, Judge Hellman. [CNN]

* The Toy & Action Figure Museum will be opening a lawyerly superhero exhibit. This generation of lawyers has no superheroes, because unemployment isn’t a super power. [ABA Journal]

The Occupy movement has reached the legal profession, with an unemployed law graduate launching a campaign to occupy the Inns of Court (London’s legal quarter).

“Through no fault of our own, a generation of [law school] graduates find ourselves with no jobs — or no jobs as lawyers anyway,” wrote the graduate under the alias “OccupyTheInns” on Legal Cheek, a blog I edit. “The lucky ones are paralegals. The unlucky ones work in bars (not the Bar)… It is for these reasons that I propose peaceful direct action. It is time to occupy the Inns of Court.”

Responses to the plan have mostly been negative, but the broad sentiment of discontent has struck a chord. Catrin Griffiths, editor of The Lawyer magazine, summed up the mood: “I don’t buy much of [OccupyTheInns'] argument, which smacks too much of entitlement, but it signifies something bigger, related to the growing crisis of a million young people unemployed in the U.K.”

However, even with our spiralling unemployment rates, and love of protesting, I’d be surprised if an occupation of legal London took off. While many U.K. law school graduates are jobless and indebted, most still have a decent shot of making it into the profession. As such, they have too much to lose by winding up the establishment.

Maybe OccupyTheInns should instead re-direct their energies to recruiting the potentially far more vulnerable, high-earning, senior lawyers who look set to lose their jobs over the next few months?

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Hold up. How could I be a baby daddy? I haven't hit puberty.

* Sorry, Obama, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is alive, well, and doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon. No more Supreme Court appointments for you, buddy boy. [The Oval / USA Today]

* Judge William Adams will not face charges over the beating of his daughter, Hillary Adams, due to the statute of limitations. At least he’ll still have public scrutiny and embarrassment. [Houston Chronicle]

* The Third Circuit has tossed out a $550K fine against CBS for the second time, because really, who wouldn’t want to see a fleeting nipple image belonging to Janet Jackson. [Legal Intelligencer]

* A former Nixon Peabody attorney got probation instead prison for false statements charges, and might even get her law license back. Did she get points for being pretty? [Blog of Legal Times]

* And speaking of being pretty, this lawsuit claims that favoring employees’ diversity over hotness at Panera Bread will allegedly earn you a spot on the unemployment line. [Washington Post]

* Occupy Wall Street protesters better hope that their lawyers aren’t planning to scrawl their pleadings on the bottoms of pizza boxes, because they’re going to trial. [Bloomberg]

* Did Justin Bieber’s alleged baby mama deflower the teen pop star? You better beliebe it! She claims in court documents that their reported encounter was his first time. [New York Post]

When news emerged last week that the Wall Street protests were spreading to London, I dared to dream. Maybe I could inculcate myself among the protesters, I wondered, and persuade their leaders to target a Biglaw firm rather than a bank. Then, I fantasized, having obtained the relevant door-code from one of my disgruntled Biglaw contacts, perhaps I could lead the protesters inside to set up an encampment. At which point, I hallucinated, I’d be able to live-tweet my experiences and, as the only journalist on the scene, become a star.

Disappointingly, it didn’t work out that way. The protesters proved frustratingly unmoved by my suggestions that they target a law firm. Instead, they tried to occupy the square in front of the London Stock Exchange. Prevented from doing so by the police, they ended up milling around the adjoining forecourt of St. Paul’s Cathedral, where their hard-core was diluted by confused tourists. What the New York Times accurately described as “a picnic atmosphere” prevailed, with “people streaming in and out of a nearby Starbucks.”

Even an appearance by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange — who arrived mid-afternoon wearing a Guy Fawkes mask to deliver a sermon on the steps of St. Paul’s — wasn’t enough to kick-start some proper rebellion. Indeed, with his claim that the Occupy Wall Street/London Stock Exchange movement “is not about the destruction of law, but the construction of law,” Assange sounded less like a revolutionary, and more a regulatory expert in the U.K. on a business trip….

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According to the Department of Labor, 14 million people in our country are unemployed. And with a surplus of lawyers that reaches into the thousands in almost every state, unemployment is a serious problem for the legal profession.

Unfortunately, we all know that Biglaw firms — and surely other firms, as well — are avoiding these attorneys like the plague. We spoke about this industry-wide issue back in late 2009, noting that Biglaw firms weren’t exactly keen on hiring associates that had previously been laid off. In fact, one recruiter we spoke with told us that approximately 80 percent of employers specifically requested résumés from attorneys who are still employed.

Facing these seemingly insurmountable odds, what’s an unemployed attorney to do? As it turns out, President Obama wants to lend a hand, but only if he can get Congress to pass this jobs bill….

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Back in June, when we spoke about the latest job data from NALP, it became clear that the class of 2010 — my graduating class — had some of the worst employment outcomes of the last 20 years. We knew this because of the way NALP categorized its data, differentiating between jobs that require and don’t require bar passage, and between full-time and part-time jobs.

But apparently the American Bar Association isn’t interested in helping people understand these outcomes on a school-by-school basis. The ABA doesn’t want you to know how schools fared in finding full-time legal employment for graduates of the class of 2010.

That’s right, the same folks who claimed just two short months ago that “no one could be more focused on the future of our next generation of lawyers than the ABA,” will now be removing those helpful job characteristics from the 2011 Annual Questionnaire….

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